Obama insults traditional U.S. allies

April 2, 2010


— What is it like to be a foreign ally of Barack Obama’s America? If you’re a Brit, your head is spinning. It’s not just the personal slights to Prime Minister Gordon Brown — the ridiculous 25-DVD gift, the five refusals before Brown was granted a one-on-one with The One.

Nor is it just the symbolism of Obama returning the Churchill bust that was in the Oval Office. Query: If it absolutely had to be out of Obama’s sight, could it not have been housed somewhere else on U.S. soil rather than ostentatiously repatriated?

And then there was Hillary Clinton’s astonishing, nearly unreported (in the U.S.) performance in Argentina last month. She called for Britain to negotiate with Argentina over the Falklands.

For those who know no history — or who believe that it began on Jan. 20, 2009 — and therefore don’t know why this was an out-of-the-blue slap at Britain, here’s the back story:

In 1982, Argentina’s military junta invaded the (British) Falkland Islands. The generals thought the British, having long lost their taste for foreign lands, would let it pass. Besides, the Falklands have uncountably more sheep than people. They underestimated Margaret Thatcher (the Argentines, that is, not the sheep). She was not about to permit the conquest of a people whose political allegiance and ethnic ties are to Britain. She dispatched the navy. Britannia took it back.

Afterward, neither Thatcher nor her successors have countenanced negotiations. Britain doesn’t covet foreign dominion and has no shortage of sheep. But it does believe in self-determination, and will negotiate nothing until and unless the Falkland Islanders indicate their desire to be ruled by a chronically unstable, endemically corrupt polity with a rich history of dictatorship, economic mismanagement and the occasional political lunacy.

Not surprisingly, the Falkland Islanders have given no such indication. Yet inexplicably, Clinton sought to reopen a question that had been settled for almost 30 years, not just pointlessly stirring the embers but even taking the Argentine side (re: negotiations) against Britain — a nation that has fought and bled with us for the last decade, and that today has about 10,000 troops, far more than any other ally, fighting alongside America in Afghanistan.

Of course, given how the administration has treated other allies, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised.

l Obama visits China and soon Indonesia, skipping India, our natural and rising ally in the region — common language, common heritage, common democracy, common jihadist enemy. Indeed, in his enthusiasm for China, Obama suggests a Chinese interest in peace and stability in South Asia, a gratuitous denigration of Indian power and legitimacy in favor of a regional rival with hegemonic ambitions.

l Poland and the Czech Republic have their legs cut out from under them when Obama unilaterally revokes a missile defense agreement, acquiescing to pressure from Russia with its dreams of regional hegemony over Eastern Europe.

l The Hondurans still can’t figure out why the United States supported a Hugo Chavez ally seeking illegal extension of his presidency against the pillars of civil society — its Congress, Supreme Court, church and army — that had deposed him consistent with Article 239 of their own constitution.

But the Brits, our most venerable, most reliable ally, are the most disoriented. “We British not only speak the same language. We tend to think in the same way. We are more likely than anyone else to provide tea, sympathy and troops,” writes Bruce Anderson in London’s Independent, summarizing with admirable concision the fundamental basis of the U.S.-British special relationship.

Well, said David Manning, a former British ambassador to the U.S., to a House of Commons committee reporting on that very relationship: “He (Obama) is an American who grew up in Hawaii, whose foreign experience was of Indonesia and who had a Kenyan father. The sentimental reflexes, if you like, are not there.”

I’m not personally inclined to neuropsychiatric diagnoses, but Manning’s guess is as good as anyone’s. How can you explain a policy toward Britain that makes no strategic or moral sense? And even if you can, how do you explain the gratuitous slaps to the Czechs, Poles, Indians and others? Perhaps when an Obama Doctrine is finally worked out, we shall learn whether it was pique, principle or mere carelessness.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group. letters@charleskrauthammer.com


Richard Heckler 8 years ago

That's nothing compared to what Reagan/Bush started in mideast oil corner of the world. You know the bombings,destruction and killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim men,women and children and has yet to stop. Of course GW Bush decided the best way to preempt war was to declare war first then call it preemptive policy. This is BS and a slap in the faces of millions by now who are dead.

More americans have been killed since 9/11/01 by this stupid action. Maybe 7000-8000 americans are dead as a result of preventing war. Talk about a slap in the face. And more are dying each day. For what? Control of a large number of barrels of oil and a pipeline to Israel.

Ever wonder why so many abroad dislike the USA Government? Because the government slaps people in the face with depleted uranium bullets,demolishes beautiful historical structures that are hundreds of years old,slaps them in the face with drones,slaps them in the face with smart bombs(dumb) then pretends it's in the name of womens' rights and democracy.

If blood and guts represents democracy why would anyone be interested? Talk about a slap in the face of democracy!

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

When soldiers come home alive that find that it is hell trying to get treated for symptoms related to depleted uranium exposure. The Department of Defense keeps saying no way jose'

Just like in the Nam days of "Agent Orange". Talk about slaps in the face!

cato_the_elder 8 years ago

Obama hates Britain because of the history of its colonial rule in Kenya. His embarrassingly shabby treatment of Britain is unprecedented in modern times. Obama needs to decide whether he is a Kenyan or an American.

Corey Williams 8 years ago

So Merrill stops using copy and paste, but barry the penders picks up the habit.


You know how you could tell that none of it was written by the penders? It was coherent.

May the great and horrible Jeebus have mercy on your soul.

Stephen Roberts 8 years ago

Merrill- But Bush But Bush.

Also remember it is now Obama's war, not just Bush. Wake up and grow up.

Corey Williams 8 years ago

cato_the_elder (anonymous) says…

"Obama needs to decide whether he is a Kenyan or an American."

I thought you guys already decided that for him?


Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Charles is a master distracter for the repub party. Anything to divert the citizens attention even if it requires writing meaningless BS.

What does Charles want people to forget?

1.As a result of 9/11/01 close to 11,000 americans have died so how many more is okay?

2.If massive death, blood and guts represent democracy why would others be interested?

3.What did repubs do with the bailout money?

  1. Why did repubs put 11 million americans out of work YET are living off of retirement benefits including medical care courtesy of the USA taxpayers?

  2. Why do repubs sit back and knowingly watch large financial instututions fail?

6.Why did both Reagan/Bush and Bush/Cheney experience super financial meltdowns under their watch which put millions out of work and tons of retirement plans went up in smoke?

  1. Do 5 and 6 represent a true coincidence or is a matter of criminal activity?

  2. Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail with Jeb Bush and cousin George Walker on the payroll..... what's up with that?

Some interesting financial history: http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

cowboy 8 years ago

For the first time in decades the US foreign policy is being expressed/represented in truthful ways. Unless there is change in Israel and a peace accord implemented , there will be another major war . It's high time for pressure on Israel to move . If you want to discuss US/UK relations the pussification of Blair by Bush and his band of liars is the single most important event having an impact on US / UK government relations.

I cannot understand why Mr. Craphammer even has a column anymore . He is such a bitter out of date neocon.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Jeez, this has got to be one of the most hysterically fact-free Krauthammer columns yet.

madameX 8 years ago

This is hogwash. My mom lives and works in London, talks to actual Brits every day, and says they loooooove Obama.

Maybe I should send a resume and writing sample to the Washington Post Writers Group, though. I don't know that much about politics, and I'm not that great of a writer, but evidently neither of these are required. LJ World, aren't there some syndicated opinion columnists out there who don't suck that you can give a platform to?

cowboy 8 years ago

That Obama guy is acting kinda mavericky now isn't he

Corey Williams 8 years ago

Don't know about the Dewars. That's kind of middle shelf. The penders is probably more McCormick

pace 8 years ago

Tradition? I think we had more wars against England than with them. Tradition as policy? Should we snub the UN, sell arms to Iran, or should we just ask "What would Palin do?". I think the Bush II remark was satire. No one in their right mind should take that literally.

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

What do the polls say? "How’s that Hopey-Changey working out for you? Two weeks after finally getting his ObamaCare agenda item signed into law, Barack Obama has reaped the reward of pushing a deeply unpopular bill through Congress. A new CBS poll shows Obama dropping to his lowest approval rating in their survey yet, down to 44% (via JWF):" http://hotair.com/archives/2010/04/02/cbs-poll-has-obama-approval-at-new-low-of-44/

somedude20 8 years ago

Yeah, maybe we should "sex up" some bs intell, start a war, send American and English troops to sacrifice their lives for a great big lie. Would that help relations Tom and Barry?

BorderRuffian 8 years ago

At least our Beloved Leader is unbiased in every way. He insults everyone (well, except Pelosi and Hillary, his trainers). Obama insults Americans (especially in cramming Obamacare down the throats of the American people) just as fluidly as he insults our traditional allies.

At least he gives great reverence to our traditional enemies, huh?

George Lippencott 8 years ago

I thought the plan was to be nice to everyone? Sounds like the more traditional leftie plan of befriending our enemies at the expense of our friends. After all, their just misunderstood. Hope we will not start to burn the villages in order to save them (in Afghanistan)!

jayhawklawrence 8 years ago

Krauthammer made himself irrelevant a long time ago.

hungryhustler 8 years ago

It's freshing for the media to acutally report ubiased facts. It is rarely seen-especially when it comes to Mr. Obama.

As for Merril- its like he has blinders on. Obama can do no wrong. No matter what happens, remember, it is ALWAYS W's fault.

Scruggsy 8 years ago

Had to figure this headline would 'inspire' a load of "Codswallop" and for certain "blokes" to 'Throw a Wobbly". Turns 'out' to be even more of the "Dog's Bollocks" than one might have bloody well 'expected'...

Cheeky Buggers, random capital letters and quotation marks, and cut & paste live unprecedented.

Benny Hill bless us all

bad_dog 8 years ago

Codswallop? Throw a Wobbly?

Right as rain, Scruggsy

George Lippencott 8 years ago

porch_person (anonymous) says…

That is a simplistic comment. I voted for Obama. That does not mean that I am with him on whatever he does. Supporting Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands after they waged an aggressive war to take them is unconscionable. Self determination is the only answer for issues like this.

esteshawk 8 years ago

Repubs need to quit whining about healthcare reform. That is what America voted for in November 2008. That is what Obama campaigned on, and that is what he had done. To say healthcare reform is against the will of the people is revisionist history before the books are even written.

Foreign policy: who cares about all this alleged faceslapping. The reality is that Russia has signed an enormous weapons treaty with us, and now China - yes China - has jumped ship on their position on Iran to join the US.

Face it Repubs - y'all have lost big time in the last two election cycles, and this strategy of no is going to backfire when the public realizes healthcare reform was not the apacolypse.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

porch_person (anonymous) says…

Well I can not disagree with you about sharing. However there have been plebiscites and the people of the Falklands have been overwhelmingly in favor of remaining British. My information suggests that the Brits would just as soon be free of the cost of maintaining the island but as a matter of respect for the people there have continued to bear the costs - not cheap. I guess Mr. Krauthammer may have presumed that the readers knew that - perhaps a presumption too far.

Roadkill_Rob 8 years ago

Hey Chitownks,

You bash "liberals" for stating something w/out any facts and then you do the same thing.

You show me "some facts then" of how Americans were "overwhelmingly" against health care reform.

Hypocrisy and irony do not register in people like you.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

esteshawk (anonymous) AND sChiHawkInKS (anonymous) say

You know this is kind of a wasted discussion. How do either of you know what the majority of us think today - or next November. There is an election and many polls that suggest that we wanted reform. There are polls that suggest that maybe this was not what we wanted. It is unclear if anybody really fully understands what we now have. I would suggest that we just wait and see how it plays out. It is now the law of the land. If we do not like it we can change it. If the right wants to run on that change that is their right. They will pay if they are wrong. I believe, not sure of this, that the Aussies tried three times before they were sufficiently satisfied.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

beobachter (anonymous) says…

And just why are they evil?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Thatcher couldn't have cared less about the Falklands. It's a precept among Thatcher/Reagan/Bush/BushII neocons that in order to achieve their political agendas, they need to have successful military campaigns, somewhere/anywhere, and for Thatcher, the Falklands just happened to be a convenient opportunity.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

beobachter (anonymous) says… Because they insist that their "god" entitles them to take land, and enslave any who disagrees with them

Interesting. You know some of the other guys believe exactly the same thing. Personally, I think the whole Middle East situation is a lot more complicated then this.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

porch_person (anonymous) and just_another_bozo_on_this_bus,

Interesting supposition. Are only Republican wars that way or did my war in Vietnam count?

You know, I suspect that all wars have many agendas and that unfortunately the people who fight them are not always part of the undercurrent. That said, we seem to want to continue to fight them. As I remember we were "nation building" in Vietnam and now we are "nation building" in Afghanistan. What makes us thing this will work better the second (third or what have you) time around?

MyName 8 years ago

Yet another swing and a miss for good ol' Chuck. Obama is out there filling stadiums in Germany to have people listen to him speak. People in Europe are happy because he actually listens to what their leaders are saying, unlike "the decider". I mean you don't get the Nobel Peace Prize if people in Europe don't like what you are doing. And I don't get why Chuck thinks we should be making good friends with the current PM. Elections are coming up very soon, he's going to be tossed to the curb, and that's when you want to start the actual charm offensive. Not the waning 9 months of a lame duck Prime Minister.

@Tom: "because now more than ever, conservative pundits, columnists, authors etc etc are in very high demand by the American public."

LOL, yeah you forgot to add one important adjective: "good". Good authors and columnists are nearly always in demand, but all Kruthammer does is provide a summary of the BS political talking points for the week. Which again makes the average reader question how someone like this still has a job in a sector that is cutting back everywhere and bleeding red ink.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

beobachter (anonymous) says…

I am still having a problem with evil. We support Egypt and Jordan (two of the countries that waged aggressive war on a UN created and supported state called Israel (three times). In the past our aid to Egypt has been right up there with our aid to Israel. I am not sure where your perception of an imbalance originates?

Oh by the way, I had the opportunity to watch our strategic forces go to a “higher state of readiness” once because the Soviets were doing things because the Israelis were doing things because the Egyptians were doing things. Kind of scares you. I take nothing in the Middle East as simple and most certainly do want to remain balanced and believe we have been. I fear the future there- a lot – particular with a potentially nuclear armed Iran. When the elected leader of a country denies history and claims “gods” blessing to destroy another country it concerns me. When I pulled alerts we had at least a few minutes to decide to end our world. There is no time to even think if Iran and Israel start a nuclear exchange.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Interesting supposition. Are only Republican wars that way or did my war in Vietnam count?"

Democrats are caught up in somewhat the same game, although it tends to be a form of defensive political posturing. LBJ escalated the war in Vietnam primarily because he didn't want to get labeled as "soft on communism" by Goldwater and the Republicans.

OzD 8 years ago

Here's the problem with almost any Krauthammer column. He has his pre-determined conclusion, and then reverse-engineers the steps he takes to get there. If Obama had gone to India and Indonesia first, instead of a visit to China and Indonesia, Krauthammer would rip into Obama for not paying enough attention to our most important trading partner and a country with veto power over UN sanctions against Iran. If Indonesia were skipped, he'd have something snarky to say about Obama not visiting the muslim world's largest democracy (one of the largest democracies on the planet) to help promote the growth of democracy in the muslim world. Sometimes I agree with some of Krauthammer's conclusions, some times I don't, but I've never read a column of his and thought that he was any sort of serious thinker, just a reactionary partisan.

All that said, any American official saying anything about the Falklands, either way, isn't very helpful.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) says…

I guess the rest of us can not win. If we are not led by "warmongers" we are led by people afraid of them. Oh by the way, my sense of history starts our involvement in Vietnam during Roosevelt’s administration

George Lippencott 8 years ago

You know that the current fracas between us an Israel may well have been started by them. Announcing that they would put more settlements in Jerusalem while our VP was there is a real slap in our face. The Obama administration had little choice but to fight back or be perceived by the Arabs as impotent. Could that have been the Israeli’s governments intention?

George Lippencott 8 years ago

porch_person (anonymous) says… "Here's the problem with almost any Krauthammer column.

You know Mr. Krauthammer is doing what he does - expressing his opinion. He has a point (a few of them). I note that you seldom comment as negatively on liberal media opinions .

Is this another case of "liberal= good" and "conservative = bad"?

pace 8 years ago

No. the people were overwhelmingly for Health Care reform, the republicans are for Health Care Corporation welfare, that is different. We needed health care reform, the only thing left for Obama to do is to continue to lead the country intelligently. Republicans should get over their pique and get down to work. Everyone will have to work to recover the mess Bushy gave us. I hated the GOP bill, oh that's right they offered the American people nothing but whining and temper tantrums.

independant1 8 years ago

A politician is just like a pickpocket. It’s almost impossible to get one to reform. (Will Rogers)

George Lippencott 8 years ago

porch_person (anonymous) says… OK, you have made youself clear.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

porch_person (anonymous) says

Well, I got it half right. Mr. K is right on Argentina and wrong on Israel

You know I really do not think our elections are winner take all! Many people I know swing back and forth based on actual accomplishments as they see them. Are you so sure that all of us agree with your notions about politics and people who disagree with Mr. Obama and/or the Democratic Party? I am not counting Tom who I think likes to goad you.

Liberty275 8 years ago

Obama is a lair and another jimmy carter, but he is ostensibly an American and therefore his opinion means more than all the non-americans on the planet. Charles, you rock, but I'm a nationalist before a conservative.

Liberty275 8 years ago

"Obamacare is law now. "

Slavery was once law too.

yourworstnightmare 8 years ago

Krauthammer is being disingenuous. He knows as well as anyone that allies are those who can be depended on through thick and thin.

Our relationship with Britain or India is not going to dissolve because Obama does not spend every waking minute tending to them.

That's the nice thing about allies. They support you. They allow you to spend more time dealing with nations that need more work and attention. This is called diplomacy, dumbarses.

This is yet another example of how the cry-baby right wing will criticize Obama's every action, and paint themselves into silly corners doing so.

Face it, cry-baby right wingers. Barack Hussein Obama, a black man of kenyan ancestry, is President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the US military.

Hertz doughnut? Tough binky for a cry-baby right winger to suck.

Rebel, Hutaree-baggers! Our president is black! Take back yor country! Take to the streets. Revolution! Idiots!

(sad trombones) Waaa waaa waaa waaaaaaaaaaaa

George Lippencott 8 years ago

yourworstnightmare (anonymous) et al says

Just what do you expect the opposition to do other than attack there opponent? I get the WH daily "points" - they attack the Republicans and sell their solutions. That is what I expect them to do. I think it is called politics. I think there may be some fundamental differences between the parties as to "world view". Do you believe that everyone that reads Mr. K agrees with what he writes any more than many people believe everything that ABC or Fox puts out? What am I missing?

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

Our Pantone 138 Kansas-Heritage President is struggling with substance abuse problems right now, cut him some slack.

Liberty275 8 years ago

"So which is it, Liberty275? Are you a nihilist or a nationalist? " I'm both. On one level, nothing matters. Period. In a million years, you will be dust and all my accomplishments irrelevant. In the present, as a thinking animal, I side with Americans over non-americans.

"As a nihilist, do your statements have any meaning at all?"

They have the meaning I assign them. In the grand scheme, meaning doesn't exist.

*, you have intellectual deficits regarding logic and abstraction that forbid you from thinking the way I do. Don't even try.

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